OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 15, 2019) – Four Oklahoma educators have been named recipients of the prestigious Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). PAEMST, established in 1983, is the highest recognition a K-12 mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States.
The following educators, recognized as the 2017 and 2018 awardees, will travel to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation:
- Gena Barnhill of Yukon Public Schools
- Megan Cannon of Sapulpa Public Schools
- Jayci Harris of Byng Public Schools
- Julie Klingensmith of Norman Public Schools
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister congratulated the awardees for their exceptional work lifting student outcomes.
“These innovative Oklahoma educators have demonstrated excellence throughout their careers in creating new opportunities for children to engage in mathematics and science,” Hofmeister said. “They are incredibly deserving of this national award and represent the exceptional talent of teachers in our state.”
|Gena Barnhill teaches fifth-grade math and science at Lakeview Elementary School in Yukon Public Schools. Previously, she taught at Rollingwood Elementary School in Putnam City Schools. She has served on the OK Math Leadership Class and the Central Oklahoma STEM Alliance Leadership Class. She regularly uses STEM practices in her classroom with a focus on real-world applications.
|Megan Cannon is the STEM coordinator for Sapulpa Public Schools. Previously, she taught STEM at Sapulpa Middle School, then later served as the director of science and engineering education at the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Cannon believes that the curiosity of young minds about natural phenomena should be used to guide instruction and discovery in the classroom. She has also served as an OKSci framework writer and is a graduate of the OKSci/OKMath OSDE Leadership Program.
|Jayci Harris is the counselor and STEM coordinator at Homer Elementary School in Byng Public Schools. She is a scholarship recipient for the Engineering Is Elementary program and won a $50,000 Collaboration Nation grant for her school. She also has served as vice president of the Byng Educators Association and has sponsored the robotics club at her school. She is most passionate about providing students with opportunities that build skills in critical thinking, perseverance, cooperative learning and creativity.
|Julie Klingensmith teaches math at Norman High School in Norman Public Schools. Klingensmith was named president of the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of Mathematics from 2014-2016, the Oklahoma-Arkansas math teacher of the year for the Mathematical Association of America in 2011, and has served as an adjunct at the University of Oklahoma. She was also named the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education Outstanding Young Educator at OU. Klingensmith is passionate about professional development and giving teachers the time and resources to collaborate.